India v Australia, 3rd Test, Mohali, 5th day March 18, 2013

India go 3-0 up with last-hour win

395

India 499 (Dhawan 187, Vijay 153, Siddle 5-71) and 136 for 4 beat Australia 408 (Starc 99, Smith 92) and 223 (Hughes 69) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Long awaited for India, too little and much too late for Australia. MS Dhoni's team completed a six-wicket victory in Mohali and regained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 3-0 with a Test to play, but not before the tourists had made India scrap for every run. Sachin Tendulkar's run-out was engineered purely due to the pressure brought to bear by Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc, before a few bold strikes by Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja settled matters.

India's victory meant they had won three Tests in a series for the first time since Mohammad Azharuddin's side swept Sri Lanka in as many matches in 1993-94. Australia's defeat meant they had lost the first three matches of a series for the first time since 1988-89, when Allan Border led his developing side to a 3-1 defeat at home to West Indies, a sobering gap of 25 years.

Like the results in Chennai and Hyderabad, India's win was built on the guile of their spin bowlers and the verve of their top-order batsmen. Shikhar Dhawan was indisposed on day five due to a jarred hand suffered in the field, but his coruscating debut innings defined the match, making Australia's 408 appear utterly puny. The Indian bowlers contributed evenly, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Pragyan Ojha sharing the wickets on day five after Bhuvneshwar Kumar had tilted the match decisively towards India by knocking over Australia's top three on the fourth evening.

The most unsettling thing about the tense way in which the match concluded was that this kind of contest had been so absent from the earlier and more critical passages of the series. Australia may take some solace from the fight displayed in the dying hours of the match, but the mere fact they were left scrapping for a draw that would still have lost them the series underlined how far they have fallen on this tour. It cannot be forgotten that this was a third consecutive hiding inside four days, after the first six hours of this match were lost to rain on Thursday.

In Dhawan's absence, M Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Tendulkar all made the handy scores required to win. At no stage did Australia appear likely to win the match, but equally they made no effort to cynically slow the game down. They face an uncertain team selection for the final match in Delhi due to Michael Clarke's tender back and the looming return of the vice-captain Shane Watson.

For a time it appeared that India's target would be merely a token amount. Australia slid to 179 for 9 in their second innings, only Phillip Hughes and Brad Haddin offering any kind of prolonged resistance, but Mitchell Starc and Xavier Doherty then hung around for 18.1 overs and 44 runs. Starc's innings followed his admirable 99 on day three, while Doherty demonstrated his impressively correct technique for a No. 11. Their efforts put those of many of the batsmen to considerable shame - David Warner and Moises Henriques in particular.

Before Starc and Doherty, Hughes and Haddin provided the only token barrier for India's bowlers. Hughes reached 69 before he was the victim of a questionable lbw shout and Haddin made 30 before he was undone by a perfectly pitched carrom ball from Ashwin, who now has 22 wickets for the series. After the back troubles that curtailed his contribution on day four, Clarke came out to bat at No. 6 but was still visibly restricted by the ailment. His dismissal was notable for a desperately tight call on whether or not Jadeja's foot had overstepped.

In the morning, Hughes and Nathan Lyon had resumed with Australia still 16 runs short of making India bat again, and Lyon was snapped up, edging Ojha behind, before the deficit was wiped off. Clarke walked to the middle after plenty of back treatment but looked not much more limber for the sleepless night, struggling to use his feet and battling visibly to run between the wickets.

Having made a swift start to his innings on the fourth evening against pace, Hughes again found himself becalmed against spin. In all he spent 35 balls on 53 before a top-edged sweep reaped a couple of runs, and he struggled noticeably to regain the momentum of the previous day. Nonetheless, Hughes fought hard, and it was his captain who fell next.

Most of Clarke's 18 runs came from leg-side deflections, and his dismissal was to a delivery he attempted to work in that direction, only to nudge a thin edge onto pad and up to short leg. Clarke delayed his exit while the umpires checked on a no-ball, and despite scant evidence Jadeja had landed any of his foot behind the line, the dismissal was rubber stamped.

A few minutes later Hughes was following Clarke, given lbw by Aleem Dar to a ball from Ashwin that pitched marginally in line with the stumps but did not straighten enough to be hitting them. It was a poor decision and a rum twist of fortune for Hughes, who had battled so hard after a dire series. Whatever the merits of the call, it now meant Australia's innings was swiftly deteriorating.

Henriques and Siddle did not last long, though the latter at least struck a pair of solid blows before playing down the wrong line at an Ojha delivery that plucked off stump. Starc, Haddin and Doherty were left to attempt a salvage operation, but despite their best efforts far too much damage had been done earlier.

1245 GMT, March 18: The several mix-ups between the wickets Ravindra Jadeja and Pragyan Ojha took were corrected.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Fijicricket on March 20, 2013, 7:45 GMT

    @ Joe Thompson on (March 19, 2013, 10:04 GMT) There's nothing impressive with Australia winning on seaming tracks. For them the real test is on flat spin tracks which is why your team will always remain just average but congratulations on your series win AT home :)

  • Fijicricket on March 20, 2013, 7:38 GMT

    @ Shuvrules95 on (March 20, 2013, 1:57 GMT) Probably 95% of cricketers of all countries did not score a century last year. So?

  • Shuvrules95 on March 20, 2013, 1:57 GMT

    Everyone is so busy celebrating India's series win, no one has realized that Sachin Tendulkar has gone a year without scoring an international century.

  • hamathite on March 20, 2013, 1:38 GMT

    How can australia "bounce back" in this series after losing it? Im thinking maybe this writer means in another series. no doubt, the whitewash is looming.

  • kumarsSansai on March 20, 2013, 0:27 GMT

    @Joe Thompson your real test is in flat pitches. so you have accomplished everything here.

  • Shan156 on March 20, 2013, 0:05 GMT

    @Ek Ajnabi, you may be right that without Hayden and Gilchrist, Aus. may have lost 0-3 in 2000-2001. But, also remember that without Laxman, India would have lost the same series 0-3.

  • Massey_T on March 19, 2013, 23:25 GMT

    @bemused2 , thats the best comment ive seen in a long time, at least among those that are featured.We could rule again if we follow that policy.Rest are explanations, whining and name calling. Hmm Sanjana, you might hv a point there what with all the reports and the top comments. But not all of us whine. Hey aby, good on u mate, I see your respect towards us even in victory and the respect is mutual. We dont mind calling a spade a spade. So well played India.

  • Al_Bundy1 on March 19, 2013, 23:24 GMT

    Great win by the youngsters. I have been saying this for a long time now - we don't have a shortage of talent - we have an abundance of talent. This win was set up by the explosive batting of Dhawan and Vijay. Do you think this would have happened if Sehwag and Gambhir were still opening for India?? We should have gotten rid of those 2 non-performers long time ago. Almost all the wickets were taken by young bowlers - Bhuvi, Ashwin, Jadeja, and Ojha.

  • Cricinfouser on March 19, 2013, 23:02 GMT

    It was a great achievement by Australia, the visionary leadership and the strategy to make the players do powerpoint presentations resulted in immense improvement overnight. With regular training on such presentations, the abilities and skills of the players can be improved exponentially. The kindness showed by the Cricket Australia managers to Shane Watson who finally realised the errors of his ways of not improving his presentation skills, is also exemplary. The large hearted Cricket Australia and team leadership immediately forgave him and provided another chance, and now cricket teams the world over should beware of the brand new motivated and extremely skilled Australian cricket team who will surely win all future matches by applying their power point presentation skills on the field.

  • Sanjana_p on March 19, 2013, 20:21 GMT

    I dont know what fight the aussies have put. Even ganguly has said that this is the worst aus team to visit india. Aus would bounce back, thats for sure. But to say great fight etc is just too much when you lose a test in 4 days. I wonder why the report also puts more emphasis on aussie fight and even the featured comments feature aussie explanations and trying to explain on the 'reasons' and reduce the glory of an outright indian win, in this test and the 2 tests before that. If you see the comments featured and read the first 2 para of the report you'd see what im talking about.Thereafter it slightly supports indian efforts. This is strange.This wasnt the way when it was reported when india lost 4-0. Hence the report and the top comments selected look more strange.